Genetic Resources Manager
- PhD, Animal Behavior, Cornell University
- BS, Zoology, University of Washington
The evolution of birds, with an emphasis on reproductive behavior, mating systems, and the use of molecular techniques, especially within the avian family Megapodiidae (the megapodes).
- Genetic Resources Manager, Zoology Division, Burke Museum, University of Washington, 1998 - present
- Alfred P. Sloan Postdoctoral Fellow in Molecular Evolution, Department of Zoology, University of Washington; Scott V. EdwardsÍ lab, (evolution of megapode birds using a nuclear and mitochondrial DNA phylogeny), 1996-1998
- Graduate Student, Section of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University; advisors: S. T. Emlen and P. W. Sherman, C. Aquadro supervised molecular lab work. DNA fingerprinting techniques used to study reproductive behavior in a megapode bird, 1987-1996.
- Burke Museum Collecting Trips, 2003-present: multiple trips to observe and collect birds and mammals in Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada.
- Burke Museum Collecting Expedition to Panama: March 2002. Surveyed and collected birds from remote forest locations along the Chagres and Esperanza Rivers.
- Burke Museum Collecting Expedition to Primor'ye, Russia: May-June 2002. Surveyed and collected birds in cooperation with scientists from the Moscow State University Museum.
- Ambrym and Efaté Islands, Vanuatu, South Pacific: surveyed nests and collected tissue and blood samples from endemic megapode bird, November 1996
- Tamborine Mountain, Southeast Queensland, Australia: studied paternity and reproductive behavior of Australian Brush-turkeys, June-December, 1989 – 1992
- Potholes National Wildlife Refuge, Washington: studied Red-winged Blackbird reproductive behavior, took blood samples for hormonal assays, March - June, 1985 and 1987
- La Selva Biological Research Station, Costa Rica: studied leaf-cutting ant ecology, January 1987
Research Awards, Grants + Fellowships
- 1998 National Science Foundation Grant for Collection Improvement for Genetic Resources at the Burke Museum
- 1995 National Science Foundation and Alfred P. Sloan Postdoctoral Fellowship in Molecular Evolution
- 1993 American Association of University Women Fellowship
- 1990 American Ornithologists Union Research Award
- 1990 American Museum of Natural History Frank M. Chapman Award
- 1989 Sigma Xi Grants in Aid of Research (local and national branches)
- 1989 National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship
- 1989 NIMH Integrative Training Grant
- 1989 Explorer's Club Exploration Fund Grant
Harris, R. B., S. M. Birks, and A. D. Leaché. 2014. Incubator birds: biogeographical origins and evolution of underground nesting in megapodes (Galliformes: Megapodiidae). Journal of Biogeography 41:2045-2056.
Kerr, K., S. Birks, M. Kalyakin, Y. Red'kin, E. Koblik, and P. Hebert. 2009. Filling the gap - COI barcode resolution in eastern Palearctic birds. Frontiers in Zoology, 6:13.
Edwards, S. V., S. Birks, R. T. Brumfield, and R. Hanner. 2005. Future of avian genetic resources collections: archives of evolutionary and environmental history. The Auk, 122:979-984.
Birks, S. M., and S. V. Edwards. 2002. A phylogeny of the megapodes (Aves: Megapodidae) based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 23:408-421.
Birks, S. M. 1999. Unusual timing of copulations in the Australian Brush-turkey, Alectura lathami. The Auk 116(1):169-177.
Birks, S. M. 1997. Paternity in the Australian Brush-turkey, Alectura lathami, a megapode bird with uniparental male care. Behavioral Ecology 8(5): 560-568.
Birks, S. M. 1996. Reproductive Behavior and Paternity in the Australian Brush-turkey, Alectura lathami. Ph.D. thesis, Cornell University, Ithaca.
Jones, D. and Birks, S. 1992. Megapodes: Recent ideas on origins, adaptations and reproduction. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 7(3): 88-91.